“You don’t propose to go alone, I suppose?” said Max, pausing.
This was another of her father’s rules and one which Olga had often vainly attempted to persuade him to rescind. Under these circumstances, Max’s question seemed little short of an insult.
“I don’t see what that has to do with it,” she said.
Max looked at his watch, then turned squarely and faced her. “With me, you mean. Very likely not. But there is a remote connection or I shouldn’t ask. Are you going to take Nick with you?”
“He is going part of the way,” said Olga, striving for dignity.
“As far as the station,” she returned, almost in spite of herself.
“Going up to town, is he?” said Max. “Well, that doesn’t help much. Take one of the boys!”
“I don’t want one of the boys,” Olga spoke with sudden irritation. “Violet is going with me,” she said.
His face changed very slightly, almost imperceptibly. “In that case you must take Mitchel,” he said.
“How absurd!” exclaimed Olga.
“No, it isn’t absurd. It’s quite reasonable from my point of view. If you can’t take Mitchel with you, I can’t spare the car.”
He smiled a little as he pronounced this decision, but quite plainly his mind was made up.
Olga bit her lip in exasperation. “Do you think I am not to be trusted to take care of her?” she asked him scornfully. “I shall ask Nick if I need do anything so ridiculous!”
“Here he is,” said Nick, coming lightly up behind her with the words. “What’s the trouble now? If you are requiring my valuable advice, it is quite at your service.”
Olga turned to him at once. “Nick, it’s really too silly for words. Dr. Wyndham makes mountains out of molehills.”
“That’s very ingenious of him,” commented Nick. “I shouldn’t harass the man if I were you, Olga. He’s been out all night.”
Olga pounced upon this fact. “I expect Mitchel has too, then, so he just won’t be able to go.”
“No,” said Max. “I didn’t take the car or Mitchel. It chanced to be a case in the village, and I bicycled.”
“Who was it?” asked Olga eagerly; and then restrained herself with annoyance. “But of course you won’t tell me. You’re much too professional.”
“Keep to the point!” ordered Nick.
Olga slipped a coaxing arm round his neck. “Nick, don’t you think it absurd that Violet and I shouldn’t motor over to Brethaven without a man to take care of us? I am quite certain Dad wouldn’t object.”
“There you are wrong,” said Max. “If your father were here, he would forbid it—as I do.”
He spoke with emphasis, and glanced again at his watch as he did so.
“He doesn’t object to my going alone with one of the boys,” said Olga. “It’s only Violet who is too precious to go motoring without a full-grown escort. As if I weren’t quite capable of taking care of her!”